Dialogue Exercise

I listen to the Writing Excuses podcasts.  One of their prompts was to write a conflict between two characters using only dialogue – no dialogue tags, no nothing.  I wrote this one in the airport this past weekend.

“You wouldn’t begrudge a man his dying wish, would you?”

“Um, excuse me?”

“I asked if you’d begrudge a man his dying wish.”

“Uh, I’m sorry – maybe it’s the distracting situation we’re in right now – but I don’t know what you mean.”

“I mean, I’m pretty sure that – with all the turbulence on this flight, the drop in cabin pressure, the oxygen masks, and the terrified flight attendants – we are all going to die.  And, as a dying man, I’d like to hold your hand.”

“My, uh, hand?”

“Yes, your hand.  It’s not that scandalous.  A man ought to be able to die with at least one of life’s pleasures; in this case, that would be holding the hand of a beautiful young woman such as yourself.”

“Ummm, I, uh, I have a boyfriend!  And I’m sure it isn’t that bad, it’s probably going to get better in – AHHHHHH!!!”

“Whoa!  See, I told you: we are all going to die.”

“Oh god oh god oh god – I hate flying!”

“You know, I bet we’d both feel better if we were holding hands.  Certainly your arm rest would have fewer punctures in it without your nails digging into it like that.”

“How are you hitting on me right now?!  We could crash any minute, and you decide that the best thing to do at the moment is to flirt with me?!”

“Hey, would you rather die stressed out or enjoying someone’s pleasant company?”

“You look old enough to be my father!”

“Then holding my hand should be comforting, like a childhood memory.  A great way to go!”

“That is so creepy!  I’m over here sweating bullets and hyperventilating, while you –”

“Hey now, these could be our lack moments on Earth.  Don’t I deserve some slack?  See, the flight attendants are on my side; they’re nodding at me.”

“They’re nodding at me!  I just mouthed ‘he’s crazy’ to them.  They think you’re nuts, too!”

“You know, some women would find this tragically romantic.  A plane going down, a dark, enigmatic stranger.  Obvious physical attraction.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me!  ‘Obvious physical attraction’!?  If I wasn’t scared out of my mind right now, I’d – AHHHH!  Oh dear God!”

“I’m actually a very nice guy, if you got to know me.  Really.”

“I’m ignoring you.  God, please don’t let me die, please don’t let me die, please don’t let me die, please –”

“I even go to church!”

“I don’t care!  Oh God oh God oh God…”

“Holding my hand would make you feel better, you know.  Holy cow, that was a big drop there!”

“OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD!  …Screw it.”

“I knew you’d come around eventually!  Wow, your hand is sweaty!”

“Shut up.”

The End


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